(5 / 5)
A really captivating three-disc collection which offers up no less than 87 tracks, and some really under the radar stuff here that encapsulates a happening era and a scene in London and the UK back in the swinging 60s.
This box set follows previous RPM collections “Looking Back” (2011) and “Keep Lookin’ “ (2014), which ran the gamut of musical styles which emanated from the UK. Diverse and yet united in their dance loor appeal, from the discotheques of the day to nouveau Mod clubs in the 21st century.
Many tracks here make their official debut on CD, including rarities by The Gnomes Of Zurich, Kevin ‘King’ Lear, Dominic Grant, The Shadrocks, The Reaction, Al Saxon, The Hammers, and many more. In addition, ‘Cypress’ by The Truth is a previously unissued variant of Donovan’s ‘Hey Gyp’.
Familiar names (The Spencer Davis Group, Ska man Laurel Aitken, The Moody Blues, Arthur Brown) are joined by cult favourites (John’s Children featuring of course Marc Bolan, Mickey Finn, The Bo Street Runners) and relative unknowns (Five’s Company and The Second Thoughts)
Across the three CDs, it charts the development of Beat music in its various guises, from the gutsy yet jazzy R&B which opens Disc one through to horn-laden Brit Soul (Norma Lee, The Brothers Grimm), fuzz-laden Freakbeat (Favourite Sons, The Tomcats, The In Crowd), Femme Pop (Twiggy, Twinkle), and groovy Loungecore (courtesy of Mark Wirtz and Les Reed’s British Lion Orchestra).
Disc three| reflects the influence of Psychedelia, as Swinging London became multi-coloured, with assorted treats from The Alan Bown, The Mike Stuart Span and The Spectrum, with some unlikely Mod-ish discoveries by bands such as The Deviants and Fat Mattress.
The deluxe clamshell package includes a weighty booklet full of illustrations, with a 12,000- word sleeve-note comprising a detailed summary of all 87 tracks on offer.
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’